The following arguments plead

against the mowing of plants, particularily in the

non-economic sphere, as for example  on verges and other public grounds.

1) Mowing is nothing less than cutting living beings in two. Although one may say, that it has never been prooved that plants have emotions and feel pain, it’s also true that nobody knows whether sooner or later science will discover that plants do have something similar. So to play it safe and not take the risk one does something very cruel to other living beings, (which by the way in the system of nature always seems to be punished one way or another), it looks like being wisest not to mow any more plants than absolutely necessary under the given circumstances.

28unmowed29_grass_7
Unmowed grassfield in May

2) Especcially when a motorised mowingmachine is used, it can very well happen that not just the mowed plants are cut in peaces; for often in between these plants several kinds of animals are living. Whereas the grown up among them can fly away, the very young, that still are in a nest, mostly cannot and simply are crushed by the knifes.
(A lot of this misery by the way can be avoided by taking care that where possible those knifes are in a height of at least twenty centimeters (or ten inches) above the ground).

3) One of the main reasons why municipalities etc. use to mow overgrowth of verges and public parks several times a year is that in this way these grounds are as good as constantly having a fresh young-green look.
(The cause of this is, that the mowed leaves die off, so that the plant has to produce new ones, that indeed look like new grass coming up in springtime, even whereas it’s high-summer or autumn.)
In fact however only in springtime nature should look like in springtime; in other seasons it has to look in the typical way of the relevant one.
Otherwise one can loose the sight on natural order, which can have a destabilising effect.

mowed_grassfield_in_june
Mowed in June

4) It’s a generally known fact that the presence of plants in a neighbourhood is a positive factor for human’s health. For plants purify (if necessary) the air and put something salutary in it; (either fragrant, or not). The stimulating effect of this can be compared with the one of sunshine and of refreshing raindrops. (Probably a vitamine-matter).
Anyway, certain is that plants, of which the leaves are cut of as good as completely, can no longer exert this well-doing function, because they can only do that with their leaves.
With them they ‘breath out’ purified ayr, full of healthy elements.
Consequently the conclusion can be drawn that mowing public grounds is rather disadvantageous for health of inhabitants who are living in the neighbourhood.

 

5) Plants need water. They suck it out of the ground and store it up in their stem, their stalk and their leaves, as far as they have those. In this way they can use it when they need it.
In periods of drought they cannot suck up any water. Then they are supposed to use the stored up reserves. But when their stalk and leafs are cut off by a mowing machine, whereas they have no stem, they have very little reserves. So then they die off relatively soon. And here’s the reason why in summer there are so often big brown spots of died grass and other plants in greenswards and verges, whereas the responsable functionaries have ordered to mow them, in order to keep them constantly looking as fresh and green as in springtime.
Another aspect of unmowed plants using and storing up water, is, that in wet, rainy periods less water will stay in the soil, than in case plants are mowed and as a result suck up very little. Especcially in low land this makes a big difference, as far as concerns the problem of that land becoming muddy.

(In this context by the way it might be interesting to notice that the environmental problem of the sea-level constantly rising is said to be caused for an essential part by the cutting of trees on a gigantic scale in primeval forests, as the relevant trees, of which some kinds are up to a hundred meter high, when chopped, cannot store up enourmous volumes of water in their stem and leafs any more. Undoubtedly the mowing of grass and other plants globally will to a certain extent have a similar effect in this respect).

wild_flowers_in_a_nature_reserve
Unmowed grassfield in July (in a nature reserve where hardly ever is mowed).

6) Mowing overgrowth of verges hardly ever is necessary. Only in a few places, (like dangerous curves in a road), traffic-safety can demand that some of it is removed.
For the rest it can grow and stay intact all of the season, without any kind of drawback.
An extra advantage of this is beauty; plants, including nettels and thistles, look much more esthetic, when they are in their natural shape, than when they are reduced to stubs, and moreover give a much more cosy sphere.
Sometimes as a reason for mowing the fact is mentioned, that otherwise shrubs will start growing there. This seems to be unwanted, notwithstanding the fact, that shrubs along a road can bring shelter against the wind and can function as a shield, to for instance bikers on a separated bicycle-track.
But then again, to avoid growth of shrubs, it is sufficiant to mow one time a year and more particular at the end of winter, whereas the knifes will have to be held not lower than some 30 centimeters (or 1 feet) above the ground.

7) In nature mowing is a very sad activity of man. Every minute thousands of living beings are killed or mutilated by the knifes. Plantfriends, can notice that. That’s why they can imagine, it’s a sign of nature’s incensedness, that after mowing, very often not the same, initially variated en colourfull vegetation comes back, but a more unpleasant one. After a few times, in natural situation (that is when nothing special has been seeded) often mainly, or just, nettles and thistles grow any more, while at first there were flowers like oxeye daisies, cornflower and poppies to be admired.

blooming_verge      dead_flowers_on_a_mowed_verge                          Before                                                               After

 

verge_flowers       mowed_verge

                    Before                                                               After

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 © Copyright Nicolas Pleumekers     (Nature Protection Foundation)